Nintendo isn't the most savvy when it comes to creating a good online experience, but the publisher seems to have learned their lesson. The Nintendo Network has been confirmed for the 3DS and Wii U, and will bring with it individual online accounts.
The Nintendo Network was first outed by a leaked box art image for Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, which showcased a logo for the at the time unannounced service. Since then, there have been some rumours floating around that the Nintendo Network will rival both PSN and Xbox Live. Whether this will be the case remains to be seen, but Nintendo is definitely on the right step.
At an investor's meeting today, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed that they are working on three major features for the Nintendo Network: online accounts, digital versions of retail games, and DLC.
Online accounts are no longer tied to the hardware, meaning if you buy a Wiiware title and your system breaks you can finally redownload it again instead of having to make a second purchase. Like the Xbox 360 and PS3, the Wii U will also allow for multiple accounts on one system.
"We will also be able to construct and offer the [personal account system] by combining a variety of different services and content."
PSN and Xbox Live already allow users to download full retail games and Nintendo plans to do the same with the Wii U and 3DS. Unfortunately, they do not know when they will begin offering this service as there are a few complications, namely retailer relationship and SD card file size limits.
In the last of the three features outlined today, Nintendo also plans to get into the DLC market, however they plan to do so in a way that is beneficial to the consumer. We'll see how long that lasts.
"As a software maker, Nintendo believes that its packaged software should be sold to our consumers in a form so that the consumers will know in advance that they can enjoy playing the software they purchased just as it is. We believe that our consumers will be able to feel more secure if we offer our add-on content as an additional structure in which those who love the game will be able to enjoy it in a deeper way for a prolonged play time."
Overall, Nintendo looks like they're on the right track with the Nintendo Network. We still haven't heard anything about the rumored implementing of Wii U apps, but at least it seems we can look forward to a competent network when the Wii U launches at the end of the year. Oh, and I guess this means we can kiss friend codes good bye!
What do you think of the Nintendo Network details?
The Wii U will launch during Holiday 2012.
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